Published May 23, 2013
Though Issa dismissed her from the hearing room, he questioned at the time whether she had waived her rights by delivering the statement. A spokesman told Fox News on Thursday that Issa had reached a decision.
“After consulting with counsel, Chairman Issa has concluded that Ms. Lerner’s 5th amendment assertion is no longer valid,” spokesman Ali Ahmad said. “She remains under subpoena, the Committee is looking at recalling her for testimony.”
Issa, citing the concerns over Lerner’s comments, never actually adjourned the hearing — where other current and former Treasury and IRS officials testified. He only called it into recess. The thinking among Republicans is that they can still call her back to testify.
Friday, 19 Apr 2013 04:56 AM
Police officers celebrate after capturing bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev in Watertown, Mass. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The sought-after suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was arrested Friday night — taken from a boat parked on a trailer behind a house in the suburban town of Watertown, police said.
Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was taken into custody without incident about 8:45 p.m., said Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy Alben.
“We have a suspect in custody,” Alben said at a 9:30 p.m. news conference. “We’re exhausted, folks, but we have a victory tonight.”
Tsarnaev, a Chechen native who became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was covered with blood when he was arrested, he said.
He was found on the stern end, or back, of the boat, leaning over, Alben said.
The teen was taken to a local hospital, where he remained in “extremely serious” condition, The Boston Globe reports.
“Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area,” Boston Police said on Twitter at 8:45 p.m.
“We Got Him,” tweeted Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
By: John Hayward
4/17/2013 01:07 PM
Yesterday the Senate mail facility discovered a letter addressed to Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi that was laced with a suspicious white powder. Preliminary tests somewhat inconclusively suggested the powder included ricin, a toxic substance made from castor beans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ricin can cause injury or death in very small amounts, through either inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. This makes it an attractive chemical-biological warfare option for the evil scumbag on a budget.
Published April 06, 2013
Fisker Automotive — the electric-car maker that was granted a half-billion-dollar federal loan and on Friday dismissed about 75 percent of its remaining workforce — is purportedly facing a lawsuit from the same firm that sued the government-funded Solyndra company.
Fisker laid off 160 of its roughly 210 employees Friday morning from its Anaheim, Calif., location, according to Automotive News.
Published: Thursday, 28 Mar 2013 | h/t Drudge
By: JeeYeon Park
Stocks closed out the first quarter on a high note with the S&P 500 piercing through levels last seen in 2007 to end at a record high near 1,570 and the Dow logging its strongest quarter in 15 years.
The S&P finally surpassed its closing high level of 1,565.15 shortly after the market open after flirting with the milestone for weeks, recovering all its losses from the financial crisis. The next milestone for the index is its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09, set on October 11, 2007.
Joseph Menn and Deborah Charles
Posted: March 21, 2013
The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country’s private, civilian-run infrastructure.
As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks.
Under last month’s White House executive order on cybersecurity, the scans will be driven by classified information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies — including data from the National Security Agency (NSA) — on new or especially serious espionage threats and other hacking attempts. U.S. spy chiefs said on March 12 that cyber attacks have supplanted terrorism as the top threat to the country.
The Department of Homeland Security will gather the secret data and pass it to a small group of telecommunication companies and cyber security providers that have employees holding security clearances, government and industry officials said. Those companies will then offer to process email and other Internet transmissions for critical infrastructure customers that choose to participate in the program.
DHS as the middleman
By using DHS as the middleman, the Obama administration hopes to bring the formidable overseas intelligence-gathering of the NSA closer to ordinary U.S. residents without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates who have long been leery of the spy agency’s eavesdropping.
The telecom companies will not report back to the government on what they see, except in aggregate statistics, a senior DHS official said in an interview granted on condition he not be identified.
“That allows us to provide more sensitive information,” the official said. “We will provide the information to the security service providers that they need to perform this function.” Procedures are to be established within six months of the order.
The administration is separately seeking legislation that would give incentives to private companies, including communications carriers, to disclose more to the government. NSA Director General Keith Alexander said last week that NSA did not want personal data but Internet service providers could inform the government about malicious software they find and the Internet Protocol addresses they were sent to and from.
“There is a way to do this that ensures civil liberties and privacy and does ensure the protection of the country,” Alexander told a congressional hearing.
Fears grow of destructive attack
In the past, Internet traffic-scanning efforts were mainly limited to government networks and Defense Department contractors, which have long been targets of foreign espionage.
But as fears grow of a destructive cyber attack on core, non-military assets, and more sweeping security legislation remained stalled, the Obama administration opted to widen the program.
Last month’s presidential order calls for commercial providers of “enhanced cybersecurity services” to extend their offerings to critical infrastructure companies. What constitutes critical infrastructure is still being refined, but it would include utilities, banks and transportation such as trains and highways.
Under the program, critical infrastructure companies will pay the providers, which will use the classified information to block attacks before they reach the customers. The classified information involves suspect Web addresses, strings of characters, email sender names and the like.
Not all the cybersecurity providers will be telecom companies, though AT&T is one. Raytheon said this month it had agreed with DHS to become a provider, and a spokesman said that customers could route their traffic to Raytheon after receiving it from their communications company.
As the new set-up takes shape, DHS officials and industry executives said some security equipment makers were working on hardware that could take classified rules about blocking traffic and act on them without the operator being able to reverse-engineer the codes. That way, people wouldn’t need a security clearance to use the equipment.
Civil liberties implications
The issue of scanning everything headed to a utility or a bank still has civil liberties implications, even if each company is a voluntary participant.
Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that the executive order did not weaken existing privacy laws, but any time a machine acting on classified information is processing private communications, it raises questions about the possibility of secret extra functions that are unlikely to be answered definitively.
“You have to wonder what else that box does,” Tien said.
One technique for examining email and other electronic packets en route, called deep packet inspection, has stirred controversy for years, and some cybersecurity providers said they would not be using that. In deep packet inspection, communication companies or others with network access can examine all the elements of a transmission, including the content of emails.
“The signatures provided by DHS do not require deep packet inspection,” said Steve Hawkins, vice president at Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems division, referring further questions to DHS.
The DHS official said the government is still in conversations with the telecom operators on the issue.
The official said the government had no plans to roll out any such form of government-guided close examination of Internet traffic into the communications companies serving the general public.
Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters.
March 4, 2013 by Sam Rolley
Since 2010, when the upheaval in the Mideast dubbed the Arab Spring began, the United States has been the friend of rebels seeking regime change in countries throughout the region. In some cases, that meant providing weapons to rebels as well as reportedly conducting clandestine U.S. military operations.
In recent months, evidence emerged that al-Qaida has taken advantage of the U.S.-backed chaos in the Mideast and North Africa to gain allegiance in the aftermath of regime changes. When the Arab Spring initially began, al-Qaida was believed to be strongest in Pakistan. But policy analysts point to the rash of violent protests at U.S. embassies in Cairo and in Yemen and the attack that took the life of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Libya, as evidence of a proliferation of al-Qaida-initiated terror.
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States was prepared to provide $60 million in aid to opposition groups working to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. That money will be in addition to $50 million already provided to the rebels to help them organize, as well as $385 million distributed to Syria and neighboring countries for humanitarian relief.
U.S. officials are reluctant to arm Syria’s rebels; the influx of monetary aid comes at a time when the United States and other outside nations have lost leverage over the Syrian opposition forces and radical Islamist groups like al-Qaida are gaining support among the rebel fighters. There is concern from some that the aid money could be making its way into the hands of terror groups.
A NATO researcher explained last week why the growing al-Qaida presence is cause for concern, saying Syria’s uncertain future could make it a top al-Qaida stronghold.
“It’s now clear that Syria is not undergoing a violent transition from one regime to another,” noted NATO researcher Jean-Loup Samaan. “In fact, the country is enduring a process of disintegration of its state structures. Planners for a post-Assad Syria are no longer eyeing the potential successors of Assad but [are looking] at the bewildering landscape of non-state actors that fight each other over the conquest of what will be eventually left of the Syrian state.”
Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Massoud Jazayeri urged U.S. officials to rethink support of Syrian opposition forces earlier this month, warning that terror groups have gained heavy control of opposition forces. He warned that the al-Qaida mission, such as it is, will lead to the armed rebels continuing their terrorist activities in the other countries, including the West, in the near future.
“The al-Qaida groups and those services which conduct their operations in line with the U.S. interests will soon change track of their operations to other places and they will cause new troubles for the U.S. and Europe henceforth,” Jazayeri said.
Syrian rebels are reported to have seized control of the country’s largest hydro-electric dam, in what would be a strategic loss to the government.
Activists and opposition groups said fighters had taken over entrances and exits of the dam in the northern province of Raqa.
Reports said the dam on the Euphrates River was still operational.
Meanwhile an explosion in a car on the Syria-Turkey border has killed at least seven people, officials say.
It is thought that the explosion happened in the area of the Cilvegozu customs post on the Turkish side of the border, in the southern province of Hatay.
Dozens of people were wounded in the blast, the cause of which was not immediately clear.
February 08, 2013
Forecasters say a massive blizzard poised to dump up to 3 feet of snow on the Northeast may be one for the record books and is following the same path as Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of the region less than six months ago.
It began snowing Friday morning in some areas, with the heaviest amounts expected to fall at night and into Saturday. Wind gusts are expected to reach up to 75 mph.
Widespread power failures were feared, along with high tides and flooding in much of the coastal areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy in October.